On that July Monday, the day of the second apparition of Mary, Queen and Mother, the calls appeared for the first time, as we have just seen. And something else also appeared that has no precedent in the history of the Catholic Church, and which would come for that reason to be uniquely characteristic of Garabandal. I undertake to describe here the kisses of grace.
We have previously read:
The people and our parents who were there gave us articles so that we might present them to be kissed.
And she kissed them all.
Through these words this gracious event is indicated. During the course of history, many examples will come forth of the Virgin’s hidden generosity. Here it is necessary to make some observations which will aid in understanding this better.
Again we go back to the testimony of Father Ramón María Andreu and the report he wrote three months after the Garabandal phenomena had begun.
«Stones have also been a frequent article in the visions of the children. The stones involved were small, about the size of caramel candy. They gathered them from the ground while in the trance, or else they brought the stones with them beforehand. They gave them to the Virgin to kiss, afterwards they returned them to people as a gift or sign of pardon. It was frequently seen that the Vision herself asked the children for more stones; but they didn’t gather more.
Cases of hierognosis (secret and mysterious understanding to distinguish holy and sacred objects from other things) have been observed in connection with the stones kissed by the Virgin. For example, one day one of the children in a trance held up a little cup of stones to offer them up to be kissed by the Virgin. While raising one of them toward the Virgin, she was clearly heard to say, What? What has already been kissed? Oh! It is André’s.»
A little stone is an insignificant thing, worthless; but the same stone is converted into a precious treasure by being distinguished with the Virgin’s kiss.
The kissing of stones occurred mainly in the first weeks of the ecstasies. Later almost nothing else was kissed except religious articles like crucifixes, rosaries, medals, holy cards, scapulars.
«It was customary to see the children with rosaries, medals, and crucifixes around their necks. These were things that the public gave them for the Virgin to kiss. A considerable number of cases of hierognosis have been observed in connection with the offering of objects to be kissed. Also cases have been cited —the majority difficult to prove — of favors obtained or cures made either at the moment of giving those objects to be kissed, or on receiving them back, or later when the recipients used them.»
It was a proven fact that the children, in spite of the multitude of objects that passed through their hands and which they held up to be kissed without any pre-established order, never erred in returning each one of the objects to the proper person. And they did this with their faces turned upwards, without seeing the people, and sometimes with the persons involved being behind their backs, or deliberately remaining at a distance. In all these circumstances it was evident that someone invisible was there with words or gestures directing the hands of the children.
But the Virgin did not only kiss definitely religious articles and small stones, the simple stones of biblical significance; she also kissed other objects that did not seem appropriate for her lips.